What’s next on nonproliferation and international security, in Washington and around the globe.
— Feb. 10: The Atlantic Council will hold a forum to discuss this question: “Will a Counterterrorism Operation in Pakistan Succeed under Current Conditions?” As the world awaits the rollout of Nawaz Sharif’s new security strategy, the Pakistani prime minister has tried to keep options open for both dialogue with, and war against, Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan insurgents. Speakers at the Washington event are Imtiaz Gul, who directs the Center for Research and Security Studies in Islamabad, and Shuja Nawaz, head of the Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center.
— Feb. 10: The Stimson Center in Washington takes its turn addressing “Iran, The Deal and The Gulf.” Its panel of experts will include: Jean-Francois Seznec of Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies; Michael Connell of the Center for Naval Analyses’ Iranian Studies Program; and Geneive Abdo of the Stimson Center’s Middle East Program. Ellen Laipson, the center’s president and CEO, moderates.
— Feb. 10-12: The three-year-old Uranium Film Festival — which originates in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil — hits Washington’s Goethe Institute. Over the course of the global festival, participants will screen more than 60 movies about atomic power, radioactivity, uranium mining, nuclear bombs and the disasters at Fukushima, Japan, and Chernobyl, Russia. It all starts with “The Atomic States of America,” a 92-minute documentary that travels to communities across the nation to gauge the impact of nuclear power on people’s lives. Some of the filmmakers will be on hand to discuss their work at the Washington events, as well as at additional screenings when the festival moves on to the Pavilion Theater in Brooklyn, N.Y., Feb. 14-19.
— Feb. 11: U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn will testify before the Senate Armed Service Committee about “Current and Future Worldwide Threats.” The hearing likely will begin with unclassified discussion, but might go into closed session. Expect some updated assessments about the status of al-Qaida and various affiliated and unaffiliated violent-extremist networks around the globe.
— Feb. 11: The U.S. House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence will convene a hearing on the possibility that an expansion in the presence of al-Qaida in Egypt might heighten the terrorism threat to U.S. cities.
— Feb. 11: Same day, different Homeland Security Committee panel. The U.S. House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response and Communications will assess the bioterrorism threat.
— Feb. 11: President Obama and the first lady Michelle Obama welcome French President François Hollande to the White House for a state visit. Beyond the vital question of whether Hollande will bring along his recently revealed new girlfriend, will he and Obama quietly explore potential contingency plans for the chance that Syria will attempt to retain some of its most dangerous chemical weapons, which have been slated for elimination? Meantime, Hollande last year called the spread of nuclear weapons a top threat to the Middle East.
— Feb. 11-14: ExchangeMonitor Publications will blow our minds again with its consistently comprehensive and interesting annual “Nuclear Deterrence Summit” in Arlington, Va., just across the bridge from Washington. Headliners include U.S. Representative Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), the House Armed Services Committee vice chairman; Daniel Poneman, the deputy Energy secretary; Maj. Gen. Garrett Harencak, the top Air Force brass for strategic deterrence and nuclear integration; Vice Adm. Terry Benedict, who directs the Navy’s Strategic Systems Programs; Rose Gottemoeller, acting undersecretary of State for arms control and international security; and Bruce Held, acting head of the National Nuclear Security Administration.
— Feb. 13: Chatham House in London is to host an event exploring the “Implementation of Economic Sanctions: Commercial and Public Policy Perspectives.” Five issue experts — including Richard Wood, deputy head of the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s International Organizations Department – will sit down with Chatham House’s Elizabeth Wilmshurst to “consider public and commercial perspectives on economic sanctions, including different viewpoints on issues of compliance, sanctions in practice, and coordination between the British government and its E.U. partners.”
— Feb. 13-14: Nayarit, Mexico, is the site of the Second Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons. This topic, say event planners at Mexico’s Foreign Ministry, “must be at the core of all deliberations on nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation.” It follows the first such gathering in Oslo, Norway, last March, where “participants unanimously concluded that there is no type of preparation and capacity in the world that can protect the population of any city from the humanitarian catastrophe of a nuclear explosion.” The Mexico confab is to “broaden the discussion about the damage and risks of nuclear weapons,” and will not aim to produce a negotiated outcome but rather a “factual summary” by the chairperson.
What We're Following See More »
"Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Monday he’ll begin punishing sanctuary cities, withholding potentially billions of dollars in federal money — and even clawing back funds that had been doled out in the past. Speaking at the White House, Mr. Sessions said his department is preparing to dole out more than $4 billion in funds this year, but will try prevent any of it from going to sanctuaries."
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes was on the White House grounds "on the day before his announcement that he saw information suggesting that communications of then-President-elect Donald Trump and his advisers may have been swept up in surveillance of other foreign nationals." He notes he was not in the White House itself, and the President's team has disavowed any knowledge of Nunes's visit.
"Senate investigators plan to question Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and a close adviser, as part of their broad inquiry into ties between Trump associates and Russian officials or others linked to the Kremlin, according to administration and congressional officials."
"With the collapse of Republicans’ health plan in the House on Friday, the Trump administration is set to ramp up its efforts to alter the Affordable Care Act in one of the few ways it has left—by making changes to the law through waivers and rule changes. The initiative now rests with Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, who has vowed to review every page of regulation and guidance related to the ACA." Some suggest that regulatory changes may be aimed at hastening Obamacare's demise.